What it’s Like to be Blind

The answer is not as obvious as you think, and in the interest of fulldisclosure, I am not blind so my perspective is one learned, but not through personal experience.   Perhaps the sense we fear to lose most is vision.  Obvious problems related to going blind include difficulty navigating the environment, inability to see faces and take cues from peoples facial expressions, risk of accident and injury and many others.

What’s not so obvious is what defines blindness.  The word blindness conjures an image of a world engulfed in black; one from which there is no escape, but most blindness is not always blackness, but sometimes it is loss of visual perception.  For example, put your hand behind your head.  Your hand doesn’t appear in your vision; you can’t perceive it.  Many types of blindness are “lack of perception” blindness.  If you have glaucoma, macular degeneration or a host of other retinal diseases or genetic causes of retinal blindness, you lose the ability to perceive – the object does not appear in your visual field, like the hand behind your head. It’s not “blackness” as blindness is commonly understood to be.

“Blackness” type blindness happens when one of the forward sitting optical elements of the eye becomes opacified, causing light to not be able to enter the eye.  The most common causes of this type of blindness occurs when the cornea, or domed front surface of the eye is injured by trauma, chemical burns, parasitic or bacterial infection or genetic defect.

Recently a famous TV commentator, Glenn Beck reported being diagnosed with a condition called Macular Dystrophy.  Macular Dystrophy can lead to the “blackness” type of blindness, whereas another common blinding eye condition, Macular Degeneration, leads to the loss of perception type of blindness.  The two conditions might be confused because of their similar names, but they occur in different parts of the eyes.  This link will take you to a video explaining the difference between the two aforementioned conditions, or visit our previous blog post at this link.

Courtesy of the Doctors at Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care; Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and Opticians working together to help you see better.  Serving the Rockville, Potomac and Gaithersburg Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC for over 40 years. For more information visit youreyesite.com or call (301) 670-1212

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2 Responses

  1. What it?s Like to be Blind…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. […] seemed that there was no place for a blind soldier to go but out of the Army. But somewhere deep inside Scotty Smiley, the despair gave way to […]

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